Edgeworth Laboratory for the Mathematical Sciences of Measurement and Psychometrics

Director: Professor Bruno D. Zumbo, University of British Columbia

Current position: Measurement, Evaluation, & Research Methodology Program (MERM), UBC

  • Professor & Distinguished University Scholar
  • Tier 1, Canada Research Chair in Psychometrics and Measurement
  • Paragon UBC Professor of Psychometrics and Measurement
  • Additional Appointment: A faculty member in the UBC Institute of Applied Mathematics (scroll to 2nd page of the list of people/faculty members)

Click here for a complete list of my publications and a brief description of the program of research.

What is the Edgeworth Laboratory about?

The Edgeworth Laboratory was created in 1990 while I was a professor in the Measurement & Evaluation Program at the University of Ottawa. In reading the history of our discipline it struck me that there is a long and important history of establishing ‘laboratories’ in the behavioral and educational sciences. An earlier form of this laboratory existed at the University of Ottawa under the title Edumetrics Research Group. The laboratory moved with me to the University of Northern British Columbia in December of 1994 where I was a Professor of Mathematics and Psychology and then again with me in the summer of 2000 to The University of British Columbia.  The laboratory primarily exists in cyberspace although it presently occupies most of my office and a laboratory at The University of British Columbia.

Since 1990 the laboratory has been named in honor of Professor F. Y. Edgeworth for his foundational work and scholarship in the application of mathematics and mathematical principles to the behavioral sciences. As noted by the historian of science and statistician, Professor S. Stigler, Professor Edgeworth “… was one of the foremost economic theorists of his time, is also a possible claimant to the title the father of Educational Statistics (Stigler, 1992, p. 66).

Stigler, S. M. (1992). A historical view of statistical concepts in Psychology and Educational Research. American Journal of Education, 101, 60-70. 

Educational & behavioral statistics are very much aligned and many of us work in both fields — in fact, one of the leading journals is entitled the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics which is jointly published by the American Statistical Association and the American Educational Research Association. A brief biographical sketch of Professor Edgeworth from the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive in St. Andrews Scotland.

The foci of the Edgeworth Lab are several cross-disciplinary recurring topics in psychometrics and statistical methods, such as (i) validity theory and validation practices, (ii) measurement invariance and item bias, (iii) studies of the robustness of statistical and psychometric methods to violations of their assumptions, and (iv) the development of nonparametric, Bayesian, and adaptive alternatives. The main themes in his primary core research program are:

  • Mathematical science: formulating mental test theory as an abstract mathematical model, using concepts in measure theory, probability theory, and functional analysis
  • Geometry of multivariate statistics and psychometrics; Bayesian analysis; mixed & latent variable models; item response theory (IRT); generalizability theory (G-theory); classical test theory (CTT)

Professional contributions reflect a pragmatic and eclectic attitude in methodological matters that have also led to concomitant advances in international assessment and surveys, language testing, and the methodology of quality of life and well-being, health and human development. These more discipline-specific advances, in the end, feed his primary core research program.

Scholarly Roots of the Edgeworth Lab and the current and former graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and visiting professors

For a description of the scholarly roots of the Edgeworth Lab, click here.

The laboratory has an active group of current and former graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows [click here].

Grants, Contracts, & Commissions

Total in Grant Money, Principal or Co-Investigator, since 2000 at UBC: $9.8 Million 

Recent highlights: Canada Research Chairs Program [Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, SSHRC] $2.8 million for a Tier 1 CRC 2020-2027; UBC-Paragon Research Agreement 2020-2024, $1.5 million

Primary Agencies:  Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Forces Department of National Defence (CF  DND), B.C. Medical Health Services, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.